I Look Almost Presentable

Jacana Media posted on its Facebook page photos from the awarding ceremonies of the 2014 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award held on 4 November. I avoid being photographed most times – as I very much prefer people to read my work. But it was a special evening. I got to shake hands with a lot of important people, including Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, Head of the European Union delegation to South Africa. One of the many interesting moments I remember was the look of surprise from the highly respected Dr Mongane Wally Serote when he saw who had written “Illegal, Undocumented.” He judged the competition without any idea who wrote what. For the record, I never achieved this much recognition in my country of birth. Before the release of my first book in 1992, Beneath an Angry Star, I remember quite a number of people congratulating me not for having published at such a young age, but for apparently winning a national literary competition. Alas, it turned out as mere rumour – or worse, that the judges had changed their minds once they found out I was practically an unknown poet. Gripes. Time to let go of that, Jim. You can’t expect everyone to like you or what you write. All you can do is keep on writing – whether it gets read is another matter. And so I will. I have to.

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About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his latest poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. View all posts by matangmanok

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